American handball dates back to 1873, and until the early 1900s four-wall handball was very well established. One-wall handball became popular in 1930s around beaches of New York. It is a very different sport to the team sport European Handball.
American handball is a striking-the-ball type of sport in which 2, 3 or 4 players use their hands for hitting small rubber ball against a wall in a way that when it bounces back the opponent player cannot return it. The game with three players is known as cut-throat.
It’s played in a walled-court that can be single walled, three-wall or fully enclosed with 4 walls. Only the four-wall court has a ceiling. Standard court dimensions is 40x20 feet and sometimes there's a back wall made of glass which can be 12 feet high. The front wall is 20 feet square long while side walls are 40 feet in length and 20 feet in height.
A short line divides the court floor into two equal halves and service line is at 5 feet from this short line. In between these two lines is service zone. The three-wall court usually has one front wall flanked by two triangular wings and two full side walls.
American Handball Variations include:
- Chinese Handball — a form of American handball which is popular in the streets of NY, similar to Wallball.
- Wallball — a wall-based sport similar to squash in which a hi-bounce rubber ball is hit with the hand onto a wall after a single bounce.
- Prison Handball — a popular sport in many North American prisons, a simplified version of American handball.
- Frisian Handball — a traditional sport from the Netherlands in which players attempt to land a ball at the end of a long rectangular field.
- Basque Pelota — the name for a variety of court sports that involves hitting a ball against a wall using the hand, a racket, a wooden bat or a basket.
- Jai Alai — a sport derived from Basque Pelota, usually played indoors. Popular in many Latin American countries.
- Paddleball (1 wall) — like Amercian handball but you hit the ball with a paddle.
- International Fronton — played by striking a ball onto a wall with bare hands, using rules adapted from many wall ball sports, including American Handball.
- Gaelic Handball — a wall-based sport, played in Ireland, similar to squash though the ball is hit with the hand.
- Fives — an English sport in which a ball is propelled against the walls in a specially designed court by using a bare or gloved hand.
- Australian Handball — players use their hands to hit a ball against one or two walls. It's similar to Squash, though played without a racquet.
- Squash — a racquet sport played by two or four players in a four-walled court with a small hollow rubber ball.
- See the unrelated sport European (team) Handball.
- Sport in the USA
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports